Saturday, March 28, 2009

Prac Three: Nico pulls off a clean-sweep

Saturday 28th March 2009

Nico Rosberg and his Williams finished fastest in Saturday's practice, giving the German a hat-trick of P1s and a confident starting point ahead of the day's qualifying session.

It was in fact another session that belonged to the 'diffuser three' with Rosberg leading Toyota's Jarno Trulli and Brawn GP's Jenson Button. Ferrari, though, will be buoyed to see that Felipe Massa was able to mix it up at the front as the Brazilian finished P4.

Report: A beautiful sunny day greeted the drivers for this late-starting third practice, with the track temperature sitting at a comfortable 35'C.

All 20 drivers ventured out in the first 10 minutes to complete their installation laps. However, silence descended in the minutes after as the teams waited to see who would be the first to blink.

Nelson Piquet Jr set the day's first lap time, a 1:31.330, but he was quickly overhauled by Fernando Alonso, Kimi Raikkonen and Timo Glock. Alonso taking the P1 slot with a 1:28.758. Piquet, though, continued lap to move up behind his team-mate as Renault took the early lead. But their 1-2 was short-lived as Raikkonen, Nico Rosberg, Nick Heidfeld, Jarno Trulli and Glock all moved ahead of Piquet.

Raikkonen's run came to a premature end 23 minutes into the session when the Finns' F60 broke down on the side of the track with a hydraulics problem. Not a good start to the day for the Ferrari and their 2007 World Champion, who may struggle in qualifying as a result.

Back on the track Jenson Button took control of the session, posting a 1:27.863 to take P1 off Alonso while Felipe Massa moved up to fourth place, slotting in between Rosberg and Heidfeld. Robert Kubica and Lewis Hamilton were seventh and eighth before the latter improved to fourth place with Giancarlo Fisichella putting his Force India up into P5.

Rubens Barrichello is the next to take the P1 slot, ahead of the two Williams of Kazuki Najakima and Rosberg. All three, though, were dropped when Seb Vettel put his Red Bull racer up into first place.

Heikki Kovalainen finally sets his first time of the day halfway through the session and it was a 1:29.336 for the Finnish driver, which put him in P18. Only one other driver, Adrian Sutil, had yet to set a time.

Vettel kicks up dirt as he pushes hard to improve his P1 time to a 1:27.009, which is 0.7s up on Barrichello's P2 time. Team-mate Webber, having seen Vettel's lap time, fought with his car as he tried to match Vettel's pace. But the Aussie could only manage P10.

Sutil sets his first timed lap with 25 minutes remaining and passed a spin Kovalainen on his way. The German went P12 with a 1:28.214.

The two Brawn GP cars again put on the pace with Barrichello going P1 ahead of Button while Glock moved up to third place ahead of Vettel. Webber moved up to sixth place.

Massa improved to third place only to be bumped a position as Trulli takes second off Button. Massa, though, upped his pace on his next lap to retake third place.

Nakajima took a trip across the grass as did Vettel, who moments later reported that 'something broke with the brakes' as he crawled back to Red Bull's garage.

A flying Glock took second place and a lap later improved to first with a 1:26.410. But he was soon overhauled by Button, who in turn was beaten by Trulli.

Piquet nearly lost it coming into Turn 6, the Brazilian down in 15th place, one ahead of team-mate Alonso.

Trulli set a 1.25.811 and was joined by Button in the sub 1:26s as the Brit also powered on the pace as the two tussled for the final P1 slot of Aussie GP practice.

But it was actually Nico Rosberg who finished the day in P1 with a 1:25.808 as the German ensured a clean-sweep of this weekend's practice sessions!

01 N. Rosberg Williams 1:25.808 21 laps
02 J. Trulli Toyota 1:25.811 19 laps
03 J. Button Brawn GP 1:25.981 20 laps
04 F. Massa Ferrari 1:26.020 17 laps
05 K. Nakajima Williams 1:26.078 18 laps
06 R. Barrichello Brawn GP 1:26.348 19 laps
07 M. Webber Red Bull 1:26.355 16 laps
08 T. Glock Toyota 1:26.410 25 laps
09 R. Kubica BMW 1:26.514 18 laps
10 N. Heidfeld BMW 1:26.555 19 laps
11 H. Kovalainen McLaren 1:26.652 13 laps
12 L. Hamilton McLaren 1:26.714 18 laps
13 S. Vettel Red Bull 1:27.009 12 laps
14 A. Sutil Force India F1 1:27.062 12 laps
15 S. Bourdais Scuderia Toro Rosso 1:27.152 16 laps
16 S. Buemi Scuderia Toro Rosso 1:27.192 17 laps
17 F. Alonso Renault 1:27.357 18 laps
18 G. Fisichella Force India F1 1:27.492 20 laps
19 N. Piquet jr. Renault 1:27.739 22 laps
20 K. Räikkönen Ferrari 1:28.801 5 laps

Source : Planet F1

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